In a massive deception which will likely result in billions of dollars in costs to the German automaker, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that Volkswagen installed a device in some of its cars specifically to deceive air quality smog inspections. The EPA claims that Volkswagen installed software in cars manufactured between 2008 and 2015 that enables cars equipped with diesel engines to bypass emissions standards that they would otherwise not pass. The “defeat device” software is engineered to ensure that, while the car is undergoing emissions testing, it emits minimal pollutants, but does not control these pollutants while the car is on the road. The EPA estimates that the cars actually emit the harmful pollutant nitrogen oxide at 40 times the federal limit. Should Volkswagen’s cars be found noncompliant with EPA guidelines after a full investigation is completed, the manufacturer may be liable for up to $18 billion in civil penalties. These fines would be on top of the cost of recalling and repairing the vehicles, as well as any damages in civil lawsuits.
Attorneys General from at least 27 states, including Mississippi, have come together to investigate the Volkswagen fraud, and a number of states have already filed suit against the car manufacturer. The US Department of Justice has also opened an inquiry, as have the governments of South Korea and Germany. A number of private class actions have been filed on behalf of Volkswagen and Audi owners, as well, including on behalf of owners in Iowa, New York, Illinois and California, by owners who feel defrauded by the company’s false statements regarding the environmentally-friendly and fuel-conserving nature of the cars.
There are believed to be roughly 11 million vehicles using the defeat device worldwide, with roughly 482,000 of those being diesel cars in the US. Owners of the following models manufactured between 2009-2015 should contact their local dealer regarding the recall: Volkswagen Jetta, Volkswagen Beetle, Audi A3, Volkswagen Golf, and Volkswagen Passat, manufactured between 2014-2015.
If you have been the victim of fraud or of a defectively manufactured product, ensure that you’re compensated for the deceit perpetrated on you by contacting skilled product liability attorney Corban Gunn to discuss your claims, at 228.284.6805.